The role of albumin as a resuscitation fluid for patients with sepsis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Crit Care Med. 2011 Feb;39(2):386-91. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181ffe217.


Objective: To assess whether resuscitation with albumin-containing solutions, compared with other fluids, is associated with lower mortality in patients with sepsis.

Data sources: MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases, the metaRegister of Controlled Trials, and the Medical Editors Trial Amnesty Register.

Study selection: Prospective randomized clinical trials of fluid resuscitation with albumin-containing solutions compared with other fluid resuscitation regimens, which included a population or subgroup of participants with sepsis, were included.

Data extraction: Assessment of the validity of included studies and data extraction were conducted independently by two authors.

Data synthesis: For the primary analysis, the effect of albumin-containing solutions on all-cause mortality was assessed by using a fixed-effect meta-analysis.

Results: Seventeen studies that randomized 1977 participants were included in the meta-analysis. There were eight studies that included only patients with sepsis and nine where patients with sepsis were a subgroup of the study population. There was no evidence of heterogeneity, I² = 0%. The use of albumin for resuscitation of patients with sepsis was associated with a reduction in mortality with the pooled estimate of the odds ratio of 0.82 (95% confidence limits 0.67-1.0, p = .047).

Conclusions: In this meta-analysis, the use of albumin-containing solutions for the resuscitation of patients with sepsis was associated with lower mortality compared with other fluid resuscitation regimens. Until the results of ongoing randomized controlled trials are known, clinicians should consider the use of albumin-containing solutions for the resuscitation of patients with sepsis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rehydration Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Resuscitation / mortality*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Sepsis / mortality*
  • Sepsis / therapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Albumins
  • Rehydration Solutions